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his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.”
The eastern leprosy was exceedingly contagious, and infected garments, houses, and every thing brought into contact with it; it was conceived to be incurable by human means, and was therefore referred for its cure to God. When, therefore, at Christ's words the leprosy departed, many must have considered, that in Him dwelled and energised the fulness of the Godhead bodily. If we advert to the legal ordinances concerning this complaint in Lev. xiii. and xiv., where it seems a type or emblem of sin, a strong light will be reflected upon this marvellous occurrence. Indeed the very fact, that leprosy was of so irritable a disorder as to have been supposed beyond the power of medicine, and to have been referred for its cure immediately to God, must have enhanced the cure in the estimation of the “great multitudes,” stamped a Divine reality on Christ's claims, and powerfully prepared the way for the future labours of the Apostles. By the performance of this miracle, our Saviour evidenced his superior power over the priests: a priest, had he touched the leper, would have been ceremonially unclean, but Christ received no defilement. Yet the miracle was without ostentation; for our Lord charged the patient to tell no man of his cure, but to show himself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them; not merely that the priests might see that there was one more powerful than they, but be assured that He came not to destroy, but to fulfil the law. Had He openly declared himself the Messiah on this early occasion, He might have frustrated his plan.
After Jesus had performed these miracles, the faith of the people became strengthened, though not firmly established, as the miracle now under consideration will testify. His cure of the man sick of the palsy appears not only to have shown his great compassion, but his possession of that power to forgive sins, which alone belongeth unto God, as his enemies acknowledged. When the afflicted man was brought into the presence of Jesus, many witnesses were there, among whom were Pharisees and Doctors of the Law, out of every kóun of Galilee and Judæa, and Jerusalem ', whose opposition to the principles of the Gospel is evident from the sequel. The words of the Evangelist are remarkable:“ and the power of the Lord was present to heal them;" by which, if we advert, as on other occasions, to Jewish expressions, it will be manifest that Christ, who was present among them, is here called the power of the Lord. In the same manner the Apostles are called in the
Luke v. 17.
Acts the mighty power of God. “And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day, that they might accuse him ;” but our Lord, in whom being God was this inalienable prerogative, repeating the words, proved that the power of the Lord was present among them, and resident IN HIM, when He said, “ that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way unto thine own house ?.” At the command of the Mighty God, the paralytic, bed-ridden for years perhaps, in the sight of multitudes took up his bed and walked. The effect was instantaneous; the multitude when they saw the miracle performed, “marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.” May we not then ask, could it have been possible for three separate historians, as in this case, to have recorded an event like this, detailing its minutiæ, and boldly averring the presence both of the friends and enemies of their cause, fixing its locality, and individualizing the healed man, in an age when exposure was easy, unless actually and circumstantially all that they related had occurred ? If therefore the history did occur, is it not a miraculous and an incontrovertible evidence, that Christ was a Divine Personage? and, as a Divine Personage,
must have been possessor of the Divine Attributes ? Must not Christianity consequently be true?
When Jesus went up to Jerusalem, as is supposed to the feast of the Passover, He performed a miracle upon a man, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. The man was not able of his own strength to enter the pool when the angel troubled the water, and had no one to assist him into it. Our Lord here displayed his knowledge of past events, for He “ knew that he had been now for a long time in that case;" He had therefore compassion upon him, and asked him if he were willing to be made whole. “ The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool; but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.”
The name of the pool signifies“the house of mercy,” and the five porches were clearly erected for the accommodation of the diseased. Various conjectures have been made respecting the sanative properties of the water, some imagining them to have been derived from the entrails of the sacrificed beasts, which were washed in them; but no one has proved that the sacrifices were washed, and no one that they were washed in the pool of Bethesda. The “certain season” has more reasonably been supposed to have been the time of the feast. On the subject of this pool we might fill many pages; but we should neither illustrate nor increase the miracle before us by so doing. The question of Jesus was by no means superfluous; it not only extends to the cure of the man's complaint, but it represents the proposal of the Gospel to those who are afflicted by sin. The willingness of the man to be cured, and his faith in the Saviour, secured the performance of the miracle : “ Rise,” said the Son of God, authoritatively, “ take up thy bed, and walk.” The cure instantly followed the command; the man, although it was the Sabbath day,—the man who had been bed-ridden for thirtyeight years,-before a multitude of witnesses takes up
his bed, and walks. The Jews reprove him for violating their laws; the healed man heeds not their censures, but, freed from the thraldom of disease, boldly answers, “ He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.” Our Lord, who afterwards met him in the temple, warned him, lest his future sins should produce the like consequences.
Had the Jews well weighed the miracles, they could not have misapprehended the character of Christ. Here was a miraculous and sanative spring, —and this was the scene of the display of Christ's sanative power. Showing that in himself this energy